When a person suffers a stroke, brain damage often occurs (sometimes leading people to refer to them as brain attacks.) The real origins of a stroke, however, lie in problems related to the heart. Narrowing blood vessels, blood clots, inflammation of blood vessels, hardening of the arteries, embolism from the heart, abnormal formation of blood vessels and bleeding from blood vessels are all common causes for a stroke.

When blood flow to the brain is impaired, the brain cannot receive oxygen and glucose, and brain cells begin to die. According to the National Stroke Association, it is estimated that approximately 795,000 people suffer a new stroke or recurrent stroke each year. Over 75 percent of those are new strokes, with approximately 185,000 recurrent strokes occurring annually.